A remodelled Big Bash League may be the next Australian sporting competition to take the plunge and play on Christmas Day, believing it can better basketball's pioneering move. The Sydney Kings and Melbourne United attracted a crowd of just over 7000 and a modest TV audience on Sunday for the first sporting fixture staged in this country on Christmas Day.
The National Basketball League will attempt to turn it into a December 25 tradition but may soon have a competitor. Cricket has been flirting with the idea of playing on Christmas Day and the short format BBL is the perfect vehicle to go where the sport has never gone before.
The move would have to have the support of the majority of players – and the Australian Cricketers' Association – but Cricket Australia and its broadcast partners are adamant it would prove a popular move and a ratings bonanza. The NBL's Christmas Day success has just increased CA's appetite to explore the idea further.
Sydney Thunder young gun Ollie Davies is all for the proposal but believes any game would have to be between clubs from the same city. "As a few people would’ve seen the other night, there was a basketball game on in Sydney and from what I heard it received a fair few views due to the fact that there isn’t much sport played on that day," he told Yahoo Sport Australia.
"I think a Big Bash game on Christmas Day could be a good idea - if players are willing to play on that day. I think it would give fans and people something to watch and look forward to but it might need to be a Sydney Smash (Sixers v Thunder) or Melbourne Derby (Renegades v Stars) in order for players to still spend time with their families.
"They'd get the morning and lunch with family and then can leave and play in the afternoon/evening. Interstate players would struggle to see family on that day, so it's definitely a topic for discussion and could be decided simply by a vote from the players to see if it’s something they would be interested in.
"I’m definitely not opposed to it and it will be interesting if something like this is passed in future years."
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley confirmed a Christmas Day match was definitely still on the table as his organisation negotiates a new broadcast rights deal, which will include a shortened and more dynamic Big Bash fixture list. He said: "It’s one thing we will continue to talk about. We will look at it and have a good discussion about it at the end of the season."
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